Qaj and the ITC go Waaaaaaay South

Posted January 18, 2022

Day 15  – (Monday, January 3, 2022) West Falkland Island – Saunders Island and Carcass

Our morning stop was Saunders Island, which boasts a population in the single or low double digits (in terms of homo sapiens) and is an odd shaped island of two pieces connected by a very narrow strip (probably about 100-200 yards wide) affectionately known as “the neck”. 

When it comes to wildlife, words cannot do the day justice, so we won’t even try.  In the morning, we walked about three miles round trip, including a pretty steep and rocky hill,

lugging both cameras (we shared the Nikon and the ITC handled the Olympus) to see a veritable smorgasbord of critters:

Gentoo penguins

Gentoos in the water

Magellanic Penguins

King Penguins [!!!]

Including a young King molting into its Bnai Mitzvah suit

And an apparent Bnai Mitzvah celebration

Rock Hopper Penguins

Rock Cormorants

Black-Browed Albatross (a whole colony)

Turkey vultures

Dolphin Gull (we think)

South Polar Skua (we think)


Our afternoon stop at Carcass (it does not mean dead body) offered a short walk or a long walk.  We chose the long walk (another 2 miles along some rolling hills) and the ITC decided to bring both cameras again.  We chose unwisely.

We started off with what we were told was a baby elephant seal (and who are we to argue) greeting us at a small jetty.  

But for the next 1 ¾  miles from the jetty to a beach far on the other side of the small bay

we were just walking, with nary a critter, and both Qaj and (especially) the ITC were struggling and getting crabby and tired.  (At about the half-way point, Qaj took the Nikon off the ITC’s hands).

But oh, that last quarter of a mile.  (Photography note:  unfortunately, by this time both of us were too tired to hold cameras steady and the ITC was too tired to make sure the Olympus settings matched the changing light – they most certainly did not – so all of these could have been much better.)

First, we ran into these guys running around up in the hills

Then we got to the beach to find some VERY grown up elephant seals

and a bunch of Magellenic Penguins

including Magellanics and Gentoos getting ready to rumble

and a single and seemingly confused solitary King Penguin

And a Magellanic Oyster Catcher (they don’t eat oysters; go figure)

We were thrilled, but pooped (the ITC was so pooped he couldn’t even get in focus)

We plotzed into the Zodiac, stumbled into our room and looked forward to tomorrow’s day at sea to recuperate for the trip home from an absolutely unforgettable trip.

This is our last daily post. Qaj is working on a cruise-long critter video that she hopes to post as the grand finale tomorrow (or maybe after that).